But What If He Is There Too?



You have been invited to a social event. Perhaps it is a birthday party, a wedding anniversary dinner, a BBQ or drinks at a friends. You are no longer in a Formal Relationship with the narcissist, but you know that he is likely going to be there. It might be that a mutual friend feels it is only fair to invite you both, it might be that you both said yes before the Formal Relationship ended. It may be the case that you have received confirmation that the narcissist is going to attend. What do you do?

For most, this situation creates anxiety, dread and an immediate desire to not attend. However, you may not want to (or even feel you can) let down the host. It may also be the case that you are determined not to let the narcissist ‘get one over you’ by you crying off, no matter how upset and perplexed you remain, how hurt or angry you are. You have drawn a line in the sand and decided you will now make the decisions as to what you do or do not do and you will not take the narcissist into account any longer.

Whether determined or dread-filled, there will be anxiety and apprehension as to what is going to happen when you are in close proximity again, perhaps for the first time since the Formal Relationship. What can you expect to happen and what can you do? There are numerous scenarios to consider.

The Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria

You should note that seeing you again post dis-engagement or post escape amounts to a hoover opportunity and therefore whether the hoover will be executed against you depends on the Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria. It is therefore worth a brief moment examining this as this will be applicable to the various scenarios which I will determine below.

Note whether you were the Intimate Partner Primary Source (“IPPS”), Shelf Intimate Partner Secondary Source (“IPSS”) or The Dirty Little Secret (“DLS”) the fact that you are attending the event amounts to a Hoover Trigger ( seeThe Spheres of Influence ) . Accordingly, the Hoover Trigger is activated. Consideration must then be given to the HEC and whether the hoover bar will be lowered or raised.

The fact that we are in close proximity to you, either sat at the same table, in the same room or at the same event means that there is very easy access to you, this means that the Hoover Bar will be lowered considerably;

What happened the last time we interacted? If you have no fuel or very little (and this has happened when we have sought to hoover you on previous occasion post cessation) then this will raise the hoover bar. If you gave fuel on previous occasions post cessation or we recall you gave a lot of fuel during the Formal Relationship then the hoover bar will be lowered;

What type of narcissist are we? The Greater means the bar is lowered, Mid-Range or Lesser and the Hoover Bar is raised slightly;

Are there any obstacles? Are you there with a new intimate partner? If so, this raises the bar (note this has no effect with a Greater);

Did you wound us the last time we engaged with you, for instance have you been ignoring us when we have hovered previously, did you escape from us, did you say or do something to wound us such as exposure? If there has been wounding, this will raise the hoover bar and make us wary. The greater the wounding, the higher the bar will go.
Will we have Lieutenants at this event? If so, this will lower the Hoover Bar as proxy hoovers are highly likely to test the ‘water’.

Thus these factors have to be taken all together to ascertain whether a hoover is likely or not. The more factors which lower the Hoover Bar the greater the likelihood of you being hovered and vice versa.

Post Dis-Engagement

The Former Intimate Partner Primary Source

If you were the Former Intimate Partner Primary Source and the HEC are met then you will be hoovered. If we attend with a new IPPS (which is highly likely if you have been dis-engaged from) then you can expect us to parade this new person, make a great show of introducing them to other people whilst casting glances in your direction to check that you are seeing this show. We will talk loudly, laugh more than other people, be enthusiastic and ensure that you know we are there to heighten your discomfort.

Eventually we will approach you and introduce the new IPPS to you. You will be referred to as ‘someone that we used to know’ unless the IPPS knows you are a former IPPS. You can expect snide remarks, back-handed compliments and the like as we will not lash out (the façade is present of course) but we want to draw a reaction from you in order to gain fuel. We will appear pleasant but this is just to mask making you feel uncomfortable and anxious. Expect plenty of one-upmanship:-

“This is Former IPPS, she is in sales, this is New IPPS she manages a sales force of thirty people for Blue Chip Inc.”

“Oh hello, I am surprised to see you, I thought you were unwell, at least that is what I had been told. This is New IPPS, we have just come back from a weekend at the Hamptons.”

If we turn up without the IPPS (which could happen) then we will act in a similar way in showing off, showing you that we are contented, happy, living life to the full. Our new IPPS will be mentioned in glowing terms so you are within earshot. We will make our way around to you eventually and hoover you by speaking to you and appearing polite if other people are there, but largely dismissive of you. If there is nobody else listening and it is just us and you, then we will issue subtle malign hoovers in the hope of driving you to the toilets crying, reminding you of why we kicked you to one side.

The higher the narcissist, the nastier these comments will be as your vulnerabilities and hurt are shoved in your face:-

“I see you are not with anyone. Hardly a surprise, you were lucky to have had me, but then you fucked that up with your hysterics.”

“I didn’t think Stacey would have invited you after the way you have been carrying on.”

“You look like you have gained ten pounds since I last saw you. All that comfort eating I guess.”

“Why haven’t you made an effort? This must be the tenth time I have seen you in this dress. Do you like my new shirt?”

“You are actually lucky new IPPS isn’t here, you’d have felt stupid next to her. Thank God I got rid of you.”

“I have had a bet with my Lieutenants that you will be drunk and blowing some waiter in the car park by midnight. I have fifty pounds riding on you, so don’t let me down. For once.”

The aim will be to draw fuel and of course any malign comments will be denied and you will be made to appear as a liar and/or hysterical.


The Shelf Intimate Partner Secondary Source

If you are currently on the shelf and we are there with the new IPPS, we will hoover you and it will be done in a benign way. We want to keep you available for taking off the shelf again at some future point and see no need to be malign. If you react unpleasantly to seeing us with someone else we will make great play of highlighting your jealousy and our entitlement.

“We had a few dates but she became obsessed and wouldn’t let me alone. She seemed to think we were an item and I could not see someone else. I made it clear that was not the case but she is obviously crazy and has the wrong idea.”

You can expect you will be devalued in the exchange and then we will move away from you with the IPPS and you will then be dis-engaged with. You have just lost your shelf status.

If our IPPS is not with us, we will ensure that we keep you onside, we will downplay any suggestion from you (or more likely a third party) that we are with someone in order to ensure we can pick you up in the future if we so choose. However, as above, if you react badly to any suspicion we have an IPPS then we will devalue you and you will be dis-engaged from. You can expect that we will spend the evening occupied with giving you malign hoovers in order to draw fuel from you in the absence of the IPPS.

If the IPPS is not with us and you are pleasant throughout, we will hoover you in a benign way. We will not look to engage in any intimacy with you (since we have the new IPPS) but it makes sense for us to continue to keep you onside and draw positive fuel from you during the evening.

If you are not on the shelf and instead you were a Former Shelf IPSS who we dis-engaged from, then we are unlikely to engage direct with you because there will be a concern that you will cause trouble with our new IPPS. Accordingly, we will make great show of our new IPPS and ensure you notice (see above) so we gain some fuel but we will not introduce you to this new person (as part of continuing the Dis-Engagement Devaluation).

We want to upset you and draw fuel from you, from a distance. If you decide to engage with us we will be polite and move away with the new IPPS. If you are awkward or unpleasant, expect a malign response from us, the utilisation of Lieutenants against you and smearing.

If you are not on the shelf and are a Former Shelf IPSS who we dis-engaged from and we have not attended with a new IPPS, then we will speak to you and be polite in order to gain positive fuel from you. Our hoovering will be benign for the purposes of gaining fuel but we will not attempt any intimacy (because we have the new IPPS). If you start to become troublesome, we will turn malign, smear and mobilise Lieutenants against you.

Dirty Little Secret

If you are a former dirty little secret that we have dis-engaged from then different considerations apply.

If we get wind before the event that you are attending it is extremely likely that we will hoover you BEFORE the event in order to warn you against attending. We may begin doing so on the basis of not wanting to hurt your feelings because we will be attending with the IPPS and therefore hope to dissuade you from attending. It has nothing to do with your feelings but instead we do not want you there because we are concerned you will cause a problem with the new IPPS as we will have been engaging with you when they were a Candidate IPSS and we do not want to risk them learning that this was the case.

If the ‘pleasant’ approach does not dissuade you, we will issue you with threats and tell you that the host does not want you there and only invited you out of a sense of obligation (we may try to persuade the host not to invite you or tell you not to come).
If you still attend and we are there with the new IPPS we will stay out of your way. We will parade the IPPS around but not as blatantly as described above and we will be keeping an eye on your reactions ensuring that you do not cause us a problem with the new IPPS. You can expect baleful glares from afar and warning expressions. If possible, we may take you to one side and warn you to keep away or else.

If you try to engage with us and the new IPPS and do so politely without causing a problem, we will reciprocate. If you start to cause problems, we will either lash out in a malign manner (within the parameters of the façade of course) or we will withdraw telling the IPPS we are unwell or you are a stalker and it is better to leave. You will then receive malign hoovers thereafter for your audacity.

If we attend without the IPPS then we will not dissuade you beforehand. We will be unlikely to hoover because we see nothing to be gained from doing so (and we do not want anybody telling our IPPS that we were seen engaging with you). If you approach us, we will engage with you in a benign manner and it is likely that you will behave in such a way also because there is no IPPS.

However, if you remain bristling because you were dis-engaged from and you start to question us or cause difficulties, we may well move you to one side to keep you under control and preserve the façade. If this is not working we will issue you with threats, smear you and use Lieutenants to draw negative fuel from you and nullify your attempts to smear and expose us.

23 thoughts on “But What If He Is There Too?

  1. FoolMe1Time says:

    I know those eyes!

  2. Pingback: But What If He Is There Too? ⋆ NarcTopia
  3. Sweetest Perfection says:

    What a coincidence. It’s like narcsite reads my mind. I’ve been invited as a guest speaker by his workplace, and he happens to be back in town just the same week (per spy information). I hope he doesn’t find out but there will be posters with my picture and the title of my speech all over. I’m gonna try to practice: logical thinking poker face logical thinking poker face. I must say, though, thanks to all the “training” HG provided I think I’m ready to run into him and not see my ET affected. Zero Impact.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Your ET will be affected because if you see him it is an interaction. What matters is whether it’s affected to a dangerous level and that is reliant on the existing level of ET.

      1. Sweetest Perfection says:

        I won’t end in bed with him, he could give me the cooties. And it by any chance I lose my composure and act moronic, then I’ll call HG to slap the ET out of my system.

        1. MB says:

          SP, “cooties” 😂 I use that word to describe all things infectious harbored within the sexually irresponsible.

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            I learned it long ago and I thought it was funny haha. God knows what my somatic narc has in storage for whomever falls prey!

    2. NarcAngel says:

      Remember that he’s just a ghost in a host. If you can’t avoid him physically, look right through him. Literally imagine what is on the other side of him.

      1. MB says:

        NA, “a ghost in a host”. Perfect! Rory perhaps?

      2. Sweetest Perfection says:

        Ghost in the shell. That’s good advice NA, I can always experiment with my look at his forehead method which always makes people feel extremely uncomfortable.

        1. NarcAngel says:

          Ha. With the added bonus of having him think his hairline is receding.

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            YOU GOT ME, friend 😉

    3. Lorelei says:

      Sweetest—I think that one day soon you will be substantially less distressed by any thought of him in attendance at such events. I’m certain of it. My former spouse and I aren’t in the same work spectrum but kid events are not an issue. If he ever came into
      my work injured (honest to goodness—maimed even) it would be nothing more than a business transaction for me. “Oh—I guess I need a nanny since you won’t be free anymore. Not a problem.” Seriously. He’s a “person” in theory only—he’s merely a silhouette.
      I received a text last night. I was able to establish it was appropriate re, a transportation scenario in the morning which precluded my few day a week email transactions. I answered. He asked for more details and I referred him to our daughter. No emotion. If he comes to the door—it gets closed. Not slammed. Closed. I need to remove his photos from my oldest daughters albums only—my last transaction. He’s basically not a life form that has relevance. I do want a pet fish though. I’ve been thinking about having a small fish tank.

      1. Sweetest Perfection says:

        Haha I love your code switching to the fish story at the bottom of the paragraph. I’m sorry you have to continue sharing kids with that person, in my case it’s easier. My dream is to move out this place and not coincide with him in any professional or social event in my life. Indifference is my aspiration but it’s even better not to see him ever again.

        1. Lorelei says:

          You will achieve total indifference. Promise.

        2. FoolMe1Time says:

          I also know you will achieve this.
          Never forget what can be lost. He nor anyone is worth that, you are far to beautiful of a person for someone like him. Remember he’s not real sweetie, it was all a lie! You can do this, I know you can! 😘💞

          1. Sweetest Perfection says:

            Plus I have great hair!!! 😘

          2. FoolMe1Time says:

            There you go! 😉😘

  4. Violetta says:

    Is that a white wolf?

    “Pray, don’t imagine that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior! He’s not a rough diamond—a pearl-containing oyster of a rustic: he’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man.”

    – Wuthering Heights

  5. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

    I attended an event this August that ex-narc was going to be at.
    It couldn’t be helped as the event was run by a mutual acquaintance, but I was so nervous I was shaking.
    He had ditched me 18 months prior with not a word to me since, and we hadn’t been in the same venue as each other either at any point since.

    In the run up to this event I had imagined all kinds of possible scenarios. Would he glare at me? Would he shout? Would he threaten? What on earth would he do? I was the ex-DLS, and we were both attending his particular event with our spouses.

    Turns out he did nothing. Oh he was definitely there as I saw his distinctive vehicle in the car park (and was told by others that he was there) but he didn’t come into the room I was stationed in even once. I didn’t even catch a glimpse of either him or his wife, which was impressive given the venue was not particularly large. Granted there were a great many people, but he didn’t even walk through my room to reach the toilet.

    Nothing. Not a thing. The event passed by as though he were not even there.

    I know full well he likes to meander around events in all possible rooms greeting people and acting as though he’s a celebrity, so for me not to have seen him at all was, to my mind, a deliberate avoidance tactic. He knew I was there, we run in the same circles and the host had publicly announced I would be attending, so he knew… so it seems clear he just wanted nothing to do with me.

    I suppose that fits in with what you say though HG. He didn’t have a new IPPS, but he was there with his wife (very much a Stepford). I guess he was wary of me rocking the boat in front of her? After all, his favourite criticism of me was always that I’m “chaos personified.”

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you for sharing your situation.

      1. He may not have known you were there but you knew he would be attending and your ET seized on that to have you wondering where he was, what he might be doing and whether he would appear. Your ET would be trying to drive you into not obeying logic so you went to find him and that would cause a Hoover Trigger. That may not have resulted in you being hoovered, but it would have continued to feed your addiction and your ET.
      2. The above point remains valid AND he was aware you were there, but the HEC were not met, hence he came nowhere near you. His knowledge of you being at the event was a Hoover Trigger, but the HEC was not met and that may well have been that the narcissism perceived wounding or challenge form you and/or potential threat to his facade, therefore he did not come anywhere near you.

      1. ThePolicyOfTruth says:

        Thank you HG very much for your response.

        My attendance was announced by the organiser on the Facebook event page several times prior to the event date as I was bringing some entertainment to the venue, so it would have been hard for narc to have been unaware I was attending as he was following the page.
        It was a business sort of thing, and we’re in the same field, so narc always pays attention to the event pages he attends as it’s all competition.

        I think you’re spot on with scenario 2. It’s a very astute conclusion and sounds very much in keeping with his likely mindset. (Of course! You’re an expert in this!)

        You’re right though about my ET. Although I do believe he knew I was there, it was my ET which increases my worrying prior to the event. I didn’t go out of my room to find him because honestly I was afraid of what might occur, but if I’m honest there was a large part of illogical ET which made me want to see him regardless of the consequences.
        I stayed put, but I was very torn, and I won’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed that he hadn’t decided to seek me out.

        It’s just as well he didn’t. I hadn’t found your wisdom at that point, and I would undoubtedly have responded to him had he said anything to me.

        I know better now. Should I ever find myself at an event again that he is attending (as I say we are in the same field of business so it’s not impossible it could happen) I am much more mentally prepared to not engage.

        You may be a narcissist but you’re also a godsend. Perhaps not to those around you in your personal life, but with respect to your knowledge of narcissism you give people strength.

        You are greatly appreciated.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are welcome TPOT, thank you for expanding on the circumstances.

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